Darkest Fear Page 15


“So we don’t need you, Bolitar.”

Myron looked at Greg, and for a moment they were back on the court, faces drenched with sweat, the crowd cheering, the clock ticking down, the ball bouncing. Nirvana. Gone forever. Snatched away by Greg. And by Emily. And maybe most of all, when he looked at it honestly, by Myron’s own stupidity.

“I’ve got to go,” Myron said.

Greg took a step back. Myron moved past him and pressed the elevator button.

“Hey, Bolitar.”

He faced Greg.

“I came here to talk to the doc about my son,” Greg said, “not rehash our past.”

Myron said nothing. He turned back to the elevator.

“You think you can help save my boy?” Greg asked.

Myron’s mouth went dry. “I don’t know.”

The elevator dinged and opened. There were no good-byes, no nods, no further communication of any sort. Myron stepped inside and let the doors close. When he reached the first level, he went to the lab. He rolled up his sleeve. A woman drew his blood, untied the tourniquet, and said, “Your doctor will be in touch with you about the results.”


Win was bored, so he drove Myron to the airport to pick up Terese. His foot pushed down on the gas pedal as though it had offended him. The Jag flew. As was his custom when driving with Win, Myron kept his eyes averted.

“It would appear,” Win began, “that our best option would be to locate a satellite marrow clinic in a somewhat remote area. Upstate maybe or in western Jersey. We would then break in at night with a computer expert.”

“Won’t work,” Myron said.

“Por qua?”

“The Washington center shuts down the computer network at six o’clock. Even if we were to break in, we couldn’t bring up the mainframe.”

Win said, “Hmm.”

“Don’t fret,” Myron said. “I have a plan.”

“When you talk like that,” Win said, “my nipples harden.”

“I thought only the real thing aroused you.”

“This isn’t the real thing?”

They parked in JFK Airport’s short-term parking and reached the Continental Airlines gate ten minutes before the flight touched down. When the passengers began to appear, Win said, “I’ll stand over in the corner.”


“I wouldn’t want to cast a shadow on your greeting,” he said. “And standing over there affords me a better view of Ms. Collins’s derriere.”

Ah, Win.

Two minutes later, Terese Collins—to use a purely transportational term—disembarked. She was casually decked out in a white blouse and green slacks. Her brown hair was up in a ponytail. People lightly elbowed one another, whispering and subtly gesturing, giving her that surreptitious glance, the one that says “I recognize you but don’t want to appear fawning.”

Terese approached Myron and offered up her breaking-to-commercial smile. It was small and tight, trying to be friendly but reminding viewers that she was telling them about war and pestilence and tragedy and that maybe a big happy smile would be somewhat obscene. They hugged a little too tightly, and Myron felt the familiar sadness overwhelm him. It happened to him every time they hugged—a sense that something inside of him was crumbling anew. He sensed that the same thing happened to her.

Win came over.

“Hello, Win,” she said.

“Hello, Terese.”

“Checking out my ass again?”

“I prefer the term ‘derriere.’ And yes.”

“Still choice?”

“Grade A.”

“Ahem,” Myron said. “Please wait for the meat inspector.”

Win and Terese looked at each other and rolled their eyes.

Myron had been wrong before. Emily was not Win’s favorite. Terese was—though it was strictly because she lived far away. “You are the pitiful, needy type who feels incomplete without a steady girlfriend,” Win had told him. “Who better than a career woman who lives a thousand miles away?”

Win headed for his Jag while they waited for her luggage. Terese watched Win walk away.

Myron said, “Is his ass better than mine?”

“No ass is better than yours,” she said.

“I know that. I was just testing you.”

Terese kept looking. “Win is an interesting fellow,” she said.

“Oh yeah,” Myron agreed.

“On the outside, he’s all cold and detached,” she said. “But underneath that—way down deep inside—he’s all cold and detached.”

“You read people well, Terese.”

Win dropped them off at the Dakota and returned to the office. When Myron and Terese got inside the apartment, she kissed him hard. Always an urgency with Terese. A desperation in their love-making. Pleasant, sure. Awesome even. But there was still the aura of sadness. The sadness didn’t go away when they made love, but for a little while it lifted like cloud cover, hovering above instead of weighing them down.

They had hooked up at a charity function a few months back, both dragged there by well-meaning friends. It was their mutual misery that drew them, as though it were one of those psychic crowns only they could spot on each other. They met and ran away that very night to the Caribbean on a let’s-just-flee dare. For the usually predictable Myron, the spontaneous act felt surprisingly right. They spent a numbingly blissful three weeks alone on a private island, trying to stave off the flow of pain. When Myron was finally forced to return home, they’d both assumed it was over. They’d assumed wrong. At least, it appeared that way.

Myron recognized that his own healing was finally under way. He wasn’t back to full strength or normal or any of that. He doubted he ever would be. Or even wanted to be. Giant hands had twisted him and then let go, and while his world was slowly untwisting, he knew that it would never fully return to its original position.

Again with the poignant.

But whatever had happened to Terese—whatever had brought on the sadness and twisted her world, if you will—still held firm, refusing to let go.

Terese’s head lay on his chest, her arms wrapped around him. He could not see her face. She never showed him her face when they finished.

“You want to talk about it?” he asked.

She still hadn’t told him, and Myron rarely asked. Doing so, he knew, was breaking an unspoken though cardinal rule.


“I’m not pushing,” he said. “I just wanted you to know that if you’re ever ready, I’m here.”

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